10 waiting games to play with preschoolers

April 21, 2016

Waiting doesn't have to be synonymous with whining. Try these deceptively simple on-the-go games that sneak in skills your child needs in kindergarten.



When the Loper family embarked on a 22-day cross-country trip covering 8900 miles, 28 states, and eight national parks, their friends and family thought they were crazy. With 5-year-old Jack, 3-year-old Owen, and 20-month-old Madeline in tow, the trip involved at least 200 hours of car time. That’s a lot of sitting and waiting for kids who haven’t even started kindergarten yet.


So how’d they make it work?


Games, says Kris Loper. “We played games to keep the kids occupied.”



A simple solution to a daily problem


Waiting is a fact of life. We spend almost an hour a day waiting — for appointments, in traffic, in check-out lines. For young kids, that can seem like an eternity. But spend that time playing games, like the Lopers, and you turn an otherwise boring wait into quality learning time. Why? Playing games is more than just a good way to keep kids busy and happy. It’s an opportunity for your young child to develop key skills. Games help children acquire competency in reasoning, language, and math. When kids strategize and problem-solve to play games, they also improve self-regulation — the ability to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline. So while you’re passing the time pleasantly rather than petulantly, you’re also helping your child practice skills they’ll need to adapt to — and thrive in — kindergarten.